Monday, September 24, 2012

The JustWorkout Devonport Classic 5k

Yesterday I raced in the JustWorkout Devonport Classic - there are 5km, 10km and 15km options, but I stuck with the 5km to begin with.  The course is really great and runs through the lovely Victorian villa-lined streets of Devonport, and in and out of a couple of parks.  There are a few ups and downs but nothing major - I'm looking forward to doing this again next year when I'm fitter and can handle the 'ups' better as they really do me in at the moment.  I just know I can smash my time!
DH took this not far from the finish line!

My official time was 32:22, so I didn't manage to run under 30 minutes as I had hoped, but no biggie!  I forgot to switch my watch off at the end until after I had untied my transponder - the watch clocked 33:02 and 5.2km, with a fastest 5k of 31:21, so I'm not sure which time is more accurate.  I was 13/42 in my age group (40-49) - here I am on the results table, tucked in between Paula Radcliffe and Nikki Samuels:

Overall I was 117 out of 270 men, women and children!

Here are a few of my thoughts and lessons learned.

I need to get my warm-up sorted, because I felt sluggish* to begin with.  I was trying hard not to commit my usual race crime and go out too fast, but there was an uphill at the start with heavy turf underfoot and I know my heart rate shot up which was exactly what I was trying to avoid!  So basically my start wasn't great, and I was pleased to finally hit some flat pavement and recover a bit.
  • Lesson 1 - warm up properly
  • Lesson 2 - plan a starting strategy
It wasn't until the 2km mark that I felt I hit my rhythm - I know, that is halfway through the race!  A few people passed me which did my confidence no good, and I found the kids distracting with their inconsistent pace (as you go to pass them they surge ahead to stay ahead of you!) so it was good to finally get them behind me.  It was great seeing so many kids out there having fun with Runner Mum or Runner Dad though!
  • Lesson 3 - run at own pace
  • Lesson 4 - others might pass you now, but you might pass them later
  • Lesson 5 - kids - either avoid them or enjoy them!
I overtook a young woman at one stage, but as I ran around the markers to turn into the next street, I saw her completely cut the corner and get ahead of me - all my hard work reining her in was wasted - gah!  I felt pretty good going up Church St and passed a few more runners, then entered the small park where the drink station was at the 3k mark.
  • Lesson 6 - passing is fun!
I avoided the drink station as it was crowded and the opportunity to get ahead of all those runners was more appealing.  Of course, ten metres past the drink station I began to feel outrageously thirsty.
  • Lesson 7 - you don't need to drink during a 5k, and can advance several places without even trying at a drink station
In the park there was an uphill path which I was running up slowly, behind another runner, at her pace, until I decided I actually had the energy to pass her on the hill.  Even the small amount of speedwork sessions I've done have shown me that sometimes surging over a short hill quickly is easier than jogging up it slowly, especially when there is a downhill recovery to be had shortly after.
  • Lesson 8 - don't get stuck behind people slowing you down

On bumpy ground I've discovered I'm more sure footed than a lot of people.  This could come back to bite me one day, but it sure came in handy on a couple of uneven downhills where I easily overtook 2-3 people making their way down more tentatively. 
  • Lesson 9 - use any sure footedness to your advantage, but never risk injury
My only criticism of this race was that the walkers set out half an hour prior to the runners, and over the next kilometre they often got in my way.  Several times I had to run out onto the road around groups walking three-abreast.  I respect that walkers are part of the event as much as anyone else, but I wish that some would be more aware of runners coming through and keep to the left.  As a slower runner I always try to allow the fast 10k-ers through when they come up from behind.  (I did however, try not to allow any women aged 40-49 running the 5k through, hehe!)  My Sportwatch recorded my distance as 5.2km, so I hope this doesn't mean I ran an additional 200m weaving in and out!
  • Lesson 10 - try to run in a straight line
  • Lesson 11 - think of an energy saving one-syllable word that is easy to say when you are puffing that means 'excuse me please' yet still doesn't sound impolite.
Speaking of walking I walked for about 30 secs up the final hill until I realised people I had overtaken were now overtaking me!  Glancing at my watch it said 27mins so I made a final push for my 30 minute goal and the end - across the road, into the park, up another slope - then I realised the finish was further away than I expected and I was spent!

I had to walk for another 30 secs to catch my breath, which gave me enough oxygen to make a final effort around to the finish line where I finished strongly.  I always seem to run like a yo-yo at the end of races!
  • Lesson 12 - know exactly where the finish line is
  • Lesson 13 - plan a finishing strategy within my limits.
Overall the Devonport Classic is a great well organised run on a scenic course, and I think I did OK for me.  I'd like to tackle it again next year and improve upon my time.  I know that with some hill-training, this year's hills will seem half the size, so that's entirely do-able.  But the best thing is that my son is interested in having a go too, after seeing so many other kids out there having fun!

How was your running weekend? Do you have any race tips for beginners?  Or know a mono-syllabic way of saying "excuse me please" err, politely, whilst puffing uphill?

*I write this as I lie in bed the next day, sneezing, with a runny nose, which might also explain feeling sluggish!


  1. Congratulations! That sounds like an excellent time, particularly when there are hills and uneven ground thrown into the mix. I find it odd that they have the walkers ahead of the runners. Sure, giving them a large head-start helps, but they're bound to get in the way. I thought it was standard for the walkers to start at the same time but be at the back of the group? Having said that, I have very little 'race' experience, having only done the Auckland Quarter Marathon once...

    Sounds like you had a fabulous time, and were very well prepared for the race. Best of luck for the next one!!! And I hope you're feeling better soon!

  2. Fantastic job on your race! And you learned a lot of good lessons here too. Passing people is fun- when you have room. It's not fun to get stuck behind other people, though, and I can't imagine why they started the walkers first, since that creates a bottle neck. In some half marathons they do that, but they give an HOUR head start to them. 5k is too short and fast and runners catch up quickly.

    Great final push. It looks like the course was a little long, or you would have broken 30 minutes! Something for next time. I bet you'll do it :)


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